Basketball star, 21, killed in Father’s Day shooting, 8 others injured

A college basketball star was killed near his home in New York City early Monday morning

A college basketball star was killed near his home in New York City early Monday morning (Images: Reuters)

A 21-year-old college basketball player was killed and eight others injured Monday in a shooting at a Father’s Day reunion in Harlem, New York City.

According to New York City police, Darius Lee was among the nine people shot dead at the gathering, which began Sunday and lasted through Monday morning.

Lee, a Harlem native who was 6 feet 6 inches tall, was a senior at Houston Baptist University in Texas, served as a guard and forward on the basketball team. Other people injured in the shooting included six men and two women, police said.

Police responded to reports of a shooting around 12.40am Monday and found several injured, while others involved in the shooting took themselves to hospital.

“This Father’s Day weekend is a weekend when people should be enjoying themselves with their families,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a news conference.

Police are still investigating the shooting and have not released any information about possible suspects or motives behind the shooting. A firearm was seized at the crime scene.

The gathering was reportedly organized by Harlem rapper Rich Rhymer, who shared invitations to the event on his Instagram account. In the post, he noted that his previous two barbecues were non-violent, and wrote, “LETS GO FOR A 3PEAT,” according to The New York Daily News.

Lee had just been named Houston Baptist University’s Student Athlete of the Year after leading the team in goals and rebounds last season. That season, he helped the team finish sixth in the nation in steals per game and earned a second pick to the All-Southland Conference.

He scored 52 points in a quadruple win in overtime last season.

The university coach spoke about the player’s tragic death in a statement published on the school’s website.

“We’re in shock and can’t take this news through our heads,” said coach Ron Cottrell. “My heart breaks for his mom, his sister, and his entire family, and for our basketball team… As great a basketball player as he was, he was an even better person.”

A memorial has since been erected outside Lee’s home in Harlem, where locals have gathered to pay their respects and mourn the basketball star who was killed.

Police are still investigating what triggered the shooting. No arrests were made.

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Justin Scacco

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